Name: Sandy Enoch.

Age: 34.

What is your business called?


Where is it based?


What does it produce, what services does it offer?

We’re an EdTech company, and creators of Marty the Robot, which is a characterful walking, dancing, football-playing robot that helps introduce children from eight to 18 to the world of coding and robotics in a fun and imaginative way. We designed Marty to be human-like, so children can relate easily to it. Marty can move all of its limbs independently and at different speeds, has expressive moving eyebrows, comes with a load of sensors so it’s ‘aware’ of its surroundings, bumper sticker pack so kids can customise their Marty and feature LED lights. Marty can be programmed over bluetooth or WiFi and comes with a suite of teaching resources.

To whom does it sell?

We sell to schools and individuals around the world. There are Martys in more than 60 countries. We also sell to educational technology distributors and tutoring companies.

How many employees?

Nine full time.

When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

After finishing my PhD in walking robotics at the University of Edinburgh, I had a lot of ideas for robots I could make. I’d always enjoyed doing outreach - science festivals and workshops, with the robots we had at the University. I thought I could make a robot that was nearly as good but at a much more accessible price point.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I’ve had a lifelong fascination with robots. I think they’re the closest thing in the real world to magic. When I went to study as an undergraduate at Heriot Watt University I had to choose between studying computer science or doing robotics, which was a far more niche course - it just sounded more hands on and interesting to me.

After getting my degree I spent some time working as a trainee patent attorney. Meetings with other inventors and time spent writing up their work into patents, made me realise I’d far rather be on their side of the table.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Initially through Edinburgh University innovation competitions, a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship, the Converge Challenge and Scottish EDGE competitions, and a crowdfunding campaign to pre-sell the first batch of robots. After that some fantastic angel investors backed the business.

What was your biggest break?

Meeting the guy who would go on to be our lead investor randomly at a code club I was demo-ing Marty at, back in 2015 when the company was yet to form and all I had was early prototypes.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I like the creative side of things, so working on prototype new products and features is always where I feel happiest.

What do you least enjoy?

There’s a lot of admin and organisation in running a small robotics company!

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I’d like to inspire as many young people as possible to get interested in technology, and how they can use it to change the world for good. I think we’ll see a lot more change in our lifetimes, and it’s down to the young people of today to steer things in the right direction. For Marty - I’d like to get into the 100,000s of units shipped at least, and build up a good size robotics company in Edinburgh. I’d love to do more production locally eventually.

What are your five top priorities?

To navigate the uncertainties in the EdTech market caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus. These relate to having a physical product in the EdTech sphere, given learning and teaching is still very much hybrid. We are working on creating solutions that’ll be available to customers virtually long term. For example, we’re currently exploring integrations with Microsoft Office 365/Teams and Google Classroom, to facilitate an embedded Learning Platform and Learning Management System to work with the online classroom tools schools already use;

To scale up production and sales of Marty v2;

To increase the size of the development team;

To make the company carbon neutral;

To make more tools to support educators in looking after all of their students.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Pay teachers more, increase education funding. A better response to Covid-19 would have been good - Australia and New Zealand managed well.

However, we’ve had tremendous support over the years from government agencies such as the UK department for business and Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International. Beyond funding and grants, we’ve had account-managed support with a tonne of resources, from research into international markets and exhibiting opportunities at international shows to connecting Robotical with international bodies and education authorities, and advice on IP and patents.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Say no to things - it can be very easy to jump on every opportunity and try to add every feature request that comes your way, but it’s better to focus and do fewer things well.

How do you relax?

Indie video games; cocktails and hipster beers; playing ukulele.